Updated at 10:35
Slogans being raised the government during the Dharna in Gilgit. Video by Aziz Ahmad
Updated at 10:00
Islamabad: Today the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah called on the minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs at his office. During the meeting the Chief Minister reportedly said that thousands of people have gathered in Gilgit and Skardu and if any mishap happens the onus will be on the federal government.
During the meeting Chaudhary Barjees Tahir said that the federal government is committed to resolve the crisis in the region. Later, he also constituted a five member committee under his own leadership to resolve the issue.
Updated at 08:30
Skardu: The sit-in continued in Skardu today having started on 15 April. Eight days have passed since thousands of people started camping at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada in Skardu.
Updated at 08:24
Updated at 07:21
Updated at 06:25
Isalmabad: Workers of the Majlis-e-Wehdatul Muslimeen (MWM) have established a Dharna camp in front of the National Press Club. Women, men and children are present at the camp which has been established to express solidarity with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Awami Action Committee.
The sit-in camp was also visited by Jamat-e-Islami leader Maulana Rasheed Turabi.
Updated at 06:10
Islamabad: A protest demonstration was held in front of the National Press Club Islamabad today to express solidarity with the strike of the Awami Action Committee. The protest demonstration was organized by the Awami Workers Party and it was addressed among others by MLA Nawaz Khan Naji, Dr. Abbas Astori, Anila Amirali, Dr. Farzana Bari and other leaders and activists.
Speaking at the occasion the activists demanded acceptance of the Charter of Demands. They also also demanded constitutional and political rights for the region.
Updated at 04:35
Women are absent from the protests and demonstrations despite of the fact that they make around half of the region’s population. Due to cultural and religious restrictions the women are not allowed generally to attend such huge rallies. However, women have come out in the past to demand their rights.
Updated at 04:03
Updated at 03:50
Gilgit: Hundreds of vehicles, including vans, bus, coasters, cars and bikes from Hunza-Nagar have reached Gilgit as part of the Long March. The city is echoing with slogans. One correspondent said that the number of vehicles coming from Hunza-Nagar is in several hundreds.
The number of people in the Garhi Bagh has risen to around 20,000, according to reporters.
There are also reports that hundreds of vehicles carrying protesters have left Gahkuch, the headquarters of District Ghizar.
Updated at 01:45
Gahkuch: A very large number of people have gathered in Gahkuch, the headquarters of Ghizar District. They are planning to march towards Gilgit to join the Awami Action Committee sit-in.
Updated at 01:10
Gilgit: Thousands of people are present at Garhi Bagh. A large number of regional journalists are also attending the sit-in. The numbers of people are likely to swell with the passage of time as the vehicles from near and far regions reach the regional capital.
Strict security measures have been put in place around key government installations, including the Chief Minister House, Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and other important buildings. Photos: Karim Sirkheli
Updated at 01:00 pm
Gilgit: The Food Department of the Gilgit-Baltistan government has published an advertisement in regional newspapers to highlight the “ground realities” about the wheat subsidy issue.
The advert says that compared to 5100 rupees being chraged for 100 kilograms of wheat the people in Gilgit-Baltistan are getting the same amount for only 1400 rupees. It is also mentioned that the subsidy was being given on the transportation cost which has increased considerably during the last decades.
Updated at 12:40
Gahkuch: Several dozens of vehicles carrying protesters reached Gahkuch, the headquarters of Ghizar district, from Immit, Pakora, Chatorkhand and other villages of the Ishkoman Tehsil. They were warmly received in Gahkuch by thousands of people who have gathered from Yasin, Gupis and Punial Tehsils of the region.
Soon these people will start moving towards Gilgit where they will join the main sit-in at the historical Garhi Bagh, where thousands of people have gathered already and the numbers are increasing each hour. Photos: Hussain Ali Shah
Updated at 12:35
Islamabad: The Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Syed Mehdi Shah, is expected to meet officials at the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan to discuss the on-going strike in the region and the demands of the Awami Action Committee. There are also reports that he will meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, today, to discuss the same issue.
Updated at 12:00
Gilgit: Around 3, 000 people have reportedly gathered at the Garhi Bagh area from Gilgit, Danyore, Jutal (Hunza-Nagar) and some villages of the Ghizar district.
Officials of the Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts are present on security duty. Activists and workers of the Awami Action Committee and Ahl-e-Sunnat are also performing security duties in the area. Walk-through gates have been installed at three locations but they are not functional due to electricity failure. The volunteers are manually checking the people who are joining the sit-in.
There are reports of hundreds of vehicles moving towards Gilgit city from Diamer, Ghizar, Astore, Baltistan and Hunza-Nagar.
Updated at 10: 30 am
Chilas: A large number of vehicles have left Chilas, the headquarters of Diamer district as part of the long march towards the Gilgit city. The caravan is being led by Dr. Muhammad Zaman, who is a renowned social and political activist belonging to the Darel Valley. Photos: Ishaq Raja
Updated at 10:15
A complete shutter-down is being observed in Gilgit city. The shops and markets remain closed while traffic is off the road and many students were seen waiting for vehicles to reach their educational.
A number of youth were seen forcibly stopping vehicles in the Jutial area of Gilgit city. It is pertinent to note that the Awami Action Committee had called for a “Shutter-Down” strike only and they had said that the traffic will not be disrupted.
The Awami Action Committee, an alliance of around two dozen groups, has been on strike since April 15. They are demanding implementation of their 9-point charter of demands which includes restoration of subsidy on the price of wheat, action against corruption, bringing an end to load-shedding, abolition of fees being charged at the region’s public hospitals and resolution of boundary disputes, as well as addressing the issues of the people affected by the Diamer-Bhasha dam project, among other demands.
The government has already lowered the registration fee from 10 to 5 rupees. Today the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Syed Mehdi Shah, is scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister of Pakistan to discuss the issues.
The strike has already been discussed in the Senate of Pakistan, where the opposition members protested against the removal of the subsidies and demanded restoration of the facility being provided to the region.
It is pertinent to note that wheat was being sold at 820 rupees per 100 kilogram sack in the region, which has now been raised to 1400 rupees. This sudden hike in the price of wheat has triggered the region’s longest strike ever.